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Why did Apple decide to tie themselves to a single carrier instead of keeping the phone unlocked? Is it because AT&T would subsidize the R&D cost that went into making the iPhone?

And purely in hindsight, was that a good decision?

Unlike Google, Apple realized early on that they would need carrier support to get into the market at all. You only get that by having exclusives. Normally these only last a year. Why 5 years? I don't know but I've heard that ATT was paying Apple part of the data subscriptions.

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